Tag Archives: UC San Diego

Political Equator – Press

7 Jun
The U.S./Mexico border photographed by Quilian Riano

Teddy Cruz of UCSD collaborated with Oscar Romo and Andrea Skorepa to organize Political Equator #3 last week. Here is a round-up of press received by the 2-day cross-border conference:

  • BLDG BLOG “Peripheral Porosity”
  • Washington Post “Art festival organizes unusual border crossing through a drain from San Diego to Tijuana”
  • Sign-On San Diego “Unusual border crossing is called performance art”

Check SOTA for a report-back from Liz Losh (UCSD) soon.

Ken Ehrlich’s Masks, or The Illusion of Power

13 May

Last year LA based artist and lecturer from UC Riverside, Ken Ehrlich, presented on his intervention markyudof.com at the UCIRA “Future Tense” conference at UC San Diego. This video is an excerpt from the first 15 minutes of that talk and the full text is reprinted on the website Occupy Everything. In the presentation Ehrlich asked members of the audience to read aloud with him certain key concepts he wanted to highlight for discussion, as you’ll hear towards the end of the video.

Personal Reflection on UCIRA’s Conference

15 Mar

Personal Reflection on UCIRA’s 2010 State of the Arts Conference

by Van Tran, MFA candidate University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB)

 

Just over a year ago my mother was diagnosed with colon cancer and had consequently lost her job and faced home foreclosure. This personal chain of events is a symptom of larger social issues in the U.S. economy: unemployment, current health care, house foreclosures, etc. At the same time this experience falls onto me. My looming student loan debt from my undergraduate career hovers over me as a current first year graduate student in the Department of Art at UCSB – and I will inevitably face paying more college loan debt without family support.

 

Where does this leave me along my pursuit for higher education and my future as an aspiring artist as fee hikes have inflated the cost of this degree? And what about the other hundreds of UC students that had to drop out and take on second and third jobs to support them and drifted from their academic endeavors?

 

The State of The Arts (SOTA) Conference that I attended in November 2010 focused on a theme of “Future Tense: Alternative Arts and Economies.” Various issues of the current UC fee hike crisis such as the aforementioned questions were raised, and there was much discourse of the relationship between public education and the public good through a variety of discussions and presentations. I attended the conference with a small group of students led by August Black, a PhD candidate from the Media Arts and Technology department at UCSB. Our group project goal was to document the conference and record interviews from various participants. To show our collective stance, we wore silkscreened t-shirts that read, “The Future is Tense.”

 

Aside from our producing documentation, a bulk of my experience from the conference involved absorbing information. At times I found myself in a whirlwind of mixed feelings towards my current experience as a graduate student. The Talk Sandwich luncheon moderated by Dee Hibbert-Jones was an open discussion where participants built their own sandwich as a metaphor for building their own ideal education model. The group’s discussion of money issues traced back to my lingering memory of my mother’s circumstances and my current burden of growing loan debt. I thought more deeply about my place in the Department of Art and the strict emphasis on completing an MFA degree in only two years as funding seems to be an ongoing issue for all of the grads, and the graduate committee has to continually find funds to support us for our two-year program. My impending leap into the working world from my graduate education brought a heavy feeling of unpreparedness to become an institutionalized mediocre artist. This is not what I want to be nor do I want to put myself in debt for this! What solutions or alternatives can be programmed and implemented to create a more thorough study, where graduate students can take up to three years (or more if there is enough funding secured) to develop and fine tune work that is intellectually engaging in its aesthetic form and practice?

 

I grew more hope during the presentation of UCIRA funded projects and was inspired to see what some artists were already doing. The call for action in creating alternative methods as a response to the current model of art education was displayed in creative and equally engaging ways: from Tim Schwartz’ STAT-US mobile unit to Ben Lotan’s literal occupation of squatting in his on-campus work space to the Urban Research Toolkit’s creation of an online collaborative research of collective mapping, to name a few. In addition to viewing these fun and exciting projects were the conference evening receptions. These were opportunities for me to connect closely with the conference participants, UC art administrators, and faculty artists from different UC campuses. The discussions and stories that were shared among this group were ones that I would not have had in the public setting of a panel discussion or presentation. These gave me some solace in knowing that I am not alone in this current state of the arts. In spite of my own experience as a graduate student I was grateful to hear critical perspectives from many voices at the SOTA conference that gave me a sense of collectivity.

 

Van Tran is a first-year MFA student in the art department at UCSB. She is interested in public & social practice and is researching the different communities surrounding her new geography of place. More information can be found on her website: http://thinkcollectdisseminate.weebly.com/

 

Chicano Secret Service

27 Jan

The Chicano Secret Service, composed of actors and graduate students from UCSB  and UCR, performed live at UCIRA’s “Future Tense” conference in November of 2010. Here are three excerpts from the show at UC San Diego:

Reflections on UCIRA Conferences 2005-2010

19 Jan

Reflections on UCIRA Conferences 2004-2010 from Dr. Holly E. Unruh (Associate Director of UC Institute for Research in the Arts)

November 2010 marked the 4th time UCIRA held its ‘State of the Arts’ conference – an event designed to bring together artists, scholars and arts administrators from across the system and beyond. Over the course of the three days we spent at UC San Diego considering the theme Future Tense: Alternative Arts and Economies in the University, I was asked several times about the history of the ‘State of the Arts’ conferences – what differentiated each one, what sorts of discussions were generated by the different themes; how did they vary from campus to campus? But perhaps most importantly I was provoked to think about the question of what it really means to ‘do’ a system/statewide ‘arts’ conference. When we launched ‘State of the Arts’ in 2005, the stakes – for faculty and for students, for arts education, for public education in general – were much different. The idea of a conference which was more like a festival (an un-conference), celebrating and linking the arts across UC and thus across the state, was an exciting prospect to consider. As we enter the very different climate of 2011 the question looms: where to spend our efforts and our dwindling funds? What can we best accomplish with our resources and how? Should ‘State of the Arts’ continue?

Still Building workshop and installation on California student movements at UCIRA Conference (UCSD in November, 2010)

‘State of the Arts’ has now been held on the UC Santa Barbara, UC Berkeley, UC Riverside and UC San Diego campuses. One thing that has remained a constant from year to year, venue to venue, has been the urging on our part that the host campus try to include a few proven elements: a multiplicity of voices (disciplinary, generational, etc.); an emphasis on the presentation of work over ideas (doing over discourse, in our internal parlance); and that they use the conference as an opportunity to showcase the work happening on their own campus. Our hope is that by using ‘State of the Arts’ as a showcase platform they will hit upon an atmosphere that will make it more like an arts festival than academic conference. This happens when artists on the campus open up studios, labs, work spaces and even classrooms. When we get past the polished critical analysis of work already completed, it becomes clear how much of what we do in the arts in the University environment is not only grounded in solid research and theoretically sophisticated (as a traditional panel presentation will surely aim to stress) but also lively and improvisational, action-based, and focused on the testing of forms, collaborative configurations and ideas – all values UCIRA as an institution highly prizes.

Deans Panel at UCIRA's Future Tense Conference (at UCSD November, 2010)

Another thread connecting each conference has been the invitation for UC administrators to come, witness, and hopefully respond to, the work in question. Since our second conference in 2007, we have been joined each year by a panel of arts Deans from across UC. By the third time they came to ‘State of the Arts’ in 2010, the Deans were (we like to think) comfortable enough with the work we were doing  to not only speak freely about what they saw as the challenges facing UC’s arts departments in the current fiscal crisis, but also to form a working committee that hopes to engage in very concrete ways with addressing some of these issues.

Different campuses have configured the conference in different ways: In year 1 (2005) at UCSB we did not have an overarching theme, although as the board sat down to curate the panels it became clear that we were all (latently) aware of some major strengths in arts research spanning the system – strengths that seemed to need articulation, connection and discussion. Over the two days of this initial conference we witnessed a variety of projects undertaken by UC artists which exemplified what we as an institution were then calling ‘Action Research’ – work which took what could easily have been purely academic questions out into the real world for testing, involved students as co-learners in the endeavor and co-producers of the knowledge, and which more often that not was as deeply collaborative in nature as it was spatially embedded in particular situations or issues. We also found that numerous individuals shared an interest in questions of habitation, design and architecture and the linked issue of sustainability – conceived both in economic, environmental and also in social terms. Finally, a strong theme to many of the presentations was the cross-cutting work being done to link art, science and technology throughout the UC system. A major project we highlighted that year was Marko Peljhan’s (Art./MAT, UCSB – and now our UCIRA co-Director) Makrolab.

Continue reading

State of the Arts with Grant Kester

2 Dec

From November 19-21st at UC San Diego the conference “Future Tense” was hosted by UCIRA in collaboration with the Dean of Arts and Humanities at UCSD. Over the next few weeks we will be posting videos from the conference on SOTA and the recently launched UCIRA Youtube channel. The first video (presented here in 4 parts) includes an introduction to the theme of the conference by UCSD Arts and Humanities Dean Seth Lerer and a Keynote outlining some of the conceptual and historical issues related to the conference.

Oct 7th at UCSD with Cara Baldwin

14 Oct

October 7 at UCSD

At UCSD a group of approximately 300 students, workers and faculty members gathered at the Silent Tree outside Geisel Library to shout an alarm. Their message? Once again, the UCOP (UC Office of the President) has proposed a further fee increase of as much as 20%, a year after they voted in an increase of 32%. Indeed, according to UC Budget Director Patrick Lenz, the UC Regents will consider a tuition increase of up to 20% at their November meeting” — 9% in Summer 2009, 32% Fall 2009, %20 Fall 2010. This is a % 70 increase, in compound terms, in a mere year and a half. Our question: Will we stop them?

For many witnessing the gathering, these increases, and the business practices that accompany them -such as predatory lending- were news. Throngs of incoming undergraduate students looked on, and many joined their fellows on Library Walk to learn, for the first time, that they were entering into a field of conflict in which they would be asked to act as isolated and passive consumers or socially-engaged and active producers of their own education.

Across the UC’s, this unfolding drama spooled out further, as institutionally-funded student bodies and groups aggressively assumed control of what they apparently perceived as a formless and undifferentiated ‘student body’ rather than a mutually assembled commons ready and able to imagine and enact change in the present. These bodies were told to sit. They were photographed. Sitting. Listening. They were chided for their inactivity. They were told that their experience in this moment was ‘activism.’

Students and Faculty from UCSD Department of Visual Art listened, and waited, respectfully, for a moment of open and shared exchange that never came. We, each of us, and together, have recognized and shown a deep investment in the possibilities for social change in this moment. Brett Stallbaum responded to this scene actively-raising his voice in response / interjection to the canned speeches presented by self-appointed and institutionally-funded student ‘leaders.’ We were told to write a poem, introduce ourselves to our neighbors and sign a circulating petition.

October 7 at UCSD
Cara Baldwin
Department of Visual Arts: Art History, Theory, Criticism and Practice

At UCSD a group of approximately 300 students, workers and faculty members gathered at the Silent Tree outside Geisel Library to shout an alarm. Their message? Once again, the UCOP has proposed a further fee increase of as much as 20%, a year after they voted in an increase of 32%. Indeed, according to UC Budget Director Patrick Lenz, the UC Regents will consider a tuition increase of up to 20% at their November meeting” — 9% in Summer 2009, 32% Fall 2009, %20 Fall 2010. This is a % 70 increase, in compound terms, in a mere year and a half. Our question: Will we stop them?

For many witnessing the gathering, these increases, and the business practices that accompany them -such as predatory lending- were news. Throngs of incoming undergraduate students looked on, and many joined their fellows on Library Walk to learn, for the first time, that they were entering into a field of conflict in which they would be asked to act as isolated and passive consumers or socially-engaged and active producers of their own education.

Across the UC’s, this unfolding drama spooled out further, as institutionally-funded student bodies and groups aggressively assumed control of what they apparently perceived as a formless and undifferentiated ‘student body’ rather than a mutually assembled commons ready and able to imagine and enact change in the present. These bodies were told to sit. They were photographed. Sitting. Listening. They were chided for their inactivity. They were told that their experience in this moment was ‘activism.’

Students and Faculty from UCSD Department of Visual Art listened, and waited, respectfully, for a moment of open and shared exchange that never came. We, each of us, and together, have recognized and shown a deep investment in the possibilities for social change in this moment. Brett Stallbaum responded to this scene actively-raising his voice in response / interjection to the canned speeches presented by self-appointed and institutionally-funded student ‘leaders.’ We were told to write a poem, introduce ourselves to our neighbors and sign a circulating petition.

We wanted to sit-in at the newly opened CHASE bank branch in the Student Union behind us. We wanted to register our own discontent and resistance in ways that were not only unimaginable to those behind microphones staged in front of us–but in ways that were apparently unacceptable.

One question hangs in the air above us and calls out for response;

‘Will we stop them?’ And how?

Oct 7th at UCSD (stephanie lie and brett stallbaum in background)

We wanted to sit-in at the newly opened CHASE bank branch in the Student Union behind us. We wanted to register our own discontent and resistance in ways that were not only unimaginable to those behind microphones staged in front of us–but in ways that were apparently unacceptable.

One question hangs in the air above us and calls out for response:

‘Will we stop them?’ And how?

Cara Baldwin is a PhD candidate in the Department of Visual Arts: Art History, Theory, Criticism and Practice at UCSD.

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